USC Football: Lessons Trojans Must Learn from Loss vs. Oregon
The USC Trojans scored 51 points but unfortunately allowed the most points in school history and ended up losing to the Oregon Ducks.
In one of the most bizarre contests in Pac-12 history, the No. 17 Trojans allowed the No. 4 Ducks to score 62 points. However, it was the fashion in which the opposition marched into the Coliseum and embarrassed the home team that will sting the most.
Oregon racked up 730 yards (426 on the ground and 304 via the air) and continued to execute coach Chip Kelly’s unique and insanely fast-paced offensive attack to perfection. The Trojans D didn’t have a chance to get off the field and couldn’t get a stop when they needed one most.
Let’s take a look at what the USC players and coaching staff must learn from this contest to close the season out strong and build hope for 2013.
Key in on Dominant Running Backs
The Trojans allowed RB Kenjon Barner to gash their defense for 321 yards and five touchdowns on 38 rush attempts.
It was by far the best performance of the superstar senior’s career, but he’s been on the Heisman radar for quite some time, and he solidified his status as a contender by the third quarter.
Coach Lane Kiffin should have known that Oregon would run its offense through the Riverside, California native and worked to shut down the Ducks' rushing game as much as possible.
While Marcus Mariota is a capable QB, he wouldn’t have been able to hang 304 yards and four touchdowns on the Trojans without Barner scaring the life out of the defense.
Control the Clock
USC isn’t going to win a sprint against Oregon, but they have the strength to emerge victorious in a long, slow-paced, drawn-out contest.
The Trojans need to control the clock, use as much time as possible and keep their offense on the field as much as possible. Oregon’s defense—like many in the Pac-12—isn’t anything special and was easily exploitable.
Instead of going for home runs, Kiffin needs to manage the clock.
Continue to Limit Flags
USC was averaging 84.6 penalty yards per game in their first eight contests, but gave up just 25 yards on three calls in this one.
It was a major improvement and a large reason why the Trojans were able to keep this relatively close. Had the flags been flying, the Ducks would have earned a much bigger blowout.
Kiffin needs to harp on this and get his team to continue to play clean, disciplined football.
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